IDAHOT Report 2014: Mauritius

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In Mauritius, local LGBTQI communities came together for a participatory art exhibition – “I Love Rainbows” – involving body painting and encouraging participants to freely express themselves, on May 17. Many also joined, together with allies, for the 9th Rainbow Parade at the start of June.

The legal situation for LGBTI communities is ambiguous in Mauritius, where colonial era sodomy laws do not specifically target LGBTI communities, and are rarely enforced. On the other hand, local activists have also highlighted that legal space may exist, in which to argue for legal recognition of same sex partnerships, within existing arrangements.
Local communities have for many years come together to commemorate key dates such as the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and once again, various groups participated in co-ordinating events for May 17 this year.
“I Love Rainbows” Art-Expo
In this initiative, held on Saturday May 17, participants were invited to couple up (as HLGBT couples), and cover parts of their bodies with paint. Paintings were produced with the act of ‘making out’ on a painting cloth.
The exposition of works of art was then held from the 17th till the 24th of May at the Caudan Waterfront.

Poster for the “I Love Rainbow” art expo in Mauritius for IDAHOT 2014.

A different poster for the Mauritius IDAHOT 2014 art project, by Steph Jorez.

You can find out more about the project in these two pdfs (here and here, in French).
“Exprime-toi” Rainbow Parade
Hundreds of LGBTI people, together with their friends and allies came together for the 9th Rainbow Parade, held under the theme “Express Yourself / Exprime-toi”. The event was held in the Plaza on the main road of Rose-Hill on June 7.
Television station ION covered the event in this News bulletin – which you can watch here:

One local activist sent the following report on the Parade:
“This year was marked with numerous organisations joining the Pride: Collectif Arc-en-Ciel, PILS, CUT, LEAD, Chrysalide; the presence of people from the U.S. Embassy and H.E. the U.S. Ambassador Shari Villarosa; and two newly formed organisations VISA-G (for trans people) and the Young Queer Alliance (for young LGBT and Queers).
The organisations grouped together, waving with pride their rainbow-coloured balloons, banners and flags, slogans, a float of vans and motor-cars, the sizzling music of mobilisation and celebration, party masks and boas, the exciting and daring show of trans-people in all their beauty… an unprecedented show from all Rainbow Parades before, a festive atmosphere in all six colours: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Violet of the Queer Rainbow having for theme: Express Your-self (Exprim twa)!
Ribbons bracelets
Participants of Young Queer Alliance group make rainbow bracelets out of ribbons, ready to share with people in the Parade.

With YQA presence as a youth organisation of LGBT, visibly, the massive influx of queers at this 9th Edition of the Rainbow Parade amassed the whole procession numerically and in terms of creativity and leadership. Novelties were: Pompom, hand printing themed: “La toile de la tolérance”, and predominantly the slogan: Zordi nu marsé, dimé nu voté (Today we march, tomorrow we vote), all summed-up to an explosive cocktail of celebrations, claims and renewal. M. M. Etienne of the Collectif Arc-en-Ciel rightly stated: “Maraine p vin vié, mé mo fier truv rélev prézan”.
The Queers to renew the Gay Rights with two stepping stones: a) Recognition of Gender and b) Protection from Hate Crimes due to Sexual Orientation and Gender; a dream coming reality in years to come..”

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